Yamaha SY77

Yamaha SY77 Image

The SY77 is like having a super-sized sample-memory workstation with the added synthesis and sounds of a DX7mkII. For its synthesizer section it employs a 6 operator AFM synth engine similar to, if not better than, the original DX's. The AFM section offers 45 algorithms, 3 feedback loops and 16 waveforms for creating some of those unique FM sounds. Sampled sounds (AWM2) which are in memory (or on external ROM cards) can then be mixed with the AFM sounds to create entirely wild new sounds! And these sounds are quite shapeable thanks to the resonant multi stage Time Variant Filters which offer the chance to recreate the warm analog sounds of classic synths, or create something entirely new.

There's an on-board sequencer section for creating your songs right on the SY77. It's got 16 tracks, channel 16 belongs to the SY77's built-in drum synthesizer which holds up to 61 sounds. The sequencer can hold up to 16,000 notes, 99 patterns and 1 song. And since the SY77 features 16 voices of polyphony for the AFM section, and another 16 voices for the sampled sounds, there are (32) plenty of voices to go around to build your song. Add the fact that there are 4 independent digital multi-effects which include reverb, delay, chorus, panning and more and you have yourself a classic music production workhorse.

Yamaha TG77 Image

The SY77 was also marketed in a rack-mount module called the TG77. All the same features as the SY77, except the keyboard, sequencer and 3.5" disk drive are gone. Following the SY77 came the upgraded SY99. Its main features and guts were the same however it had increased memory, waveforms and a bigger keyboard. The SY77 (or TG77) is great for really controlling and creating sounds for use in various electronic forms of music and has been used by 808 State, Skinny Puppy, Brian Eno, Europe, Toto, Vangelis, Chick Corea, and Front 242.

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100 Visitor comments
December 6, 2009 @ 4:27 pm
I just got one of these babies off eBay; I've had it for about a month, learning it by ear (literally). It's my first synth but I have been able to make six patches so far. It's pretty sweet, and there's still plenty I've yet to learn (such as, among other things, the sequencer). I'd recommend this if you can find it for a good price on eBay; it does seem to be capable of producing a wide range of sounds, and I enjoy the combination of FM and AWM elements. If anybody has tips regarding the more advanced aspects of programming (such as EGs and filters, particularly filter sweeps), I'd appreciate the advice. At any rate, good machine, basically a music computer (albeit a 20-year-old one); I would recommend it!
December 1, 2009 @ 10:28 pm
Think of something sorta like Yamaha's FM version of the Roland D-50, and this is what you would get. AWM samples layering FM sounds (some fat, some lush, some typical FM), but just like on the D-50, you can bypass the samples completely to create some beautiful pads or wild synth sounds.

For this to be a FM synth, it is able to pull off some thick, almost authentic analog sounds, and it has a certain FM grit to it. A must have for any FM enthusiast.
November 18, 2009 @ 5:24 am
Powerful keyboard-has limitations regarding splitting and layering sounds and drums aren't the best but I have played or owned over a dozen modern keyboards and modules-this is still a fascinating instrument and can create sounds like no other. Holds up well physically-quality buttons and dials, solid construction-still the best variety of electric pianos and I've played them all from the original Rhodes and Whirlies on up to the newest. Creates the most complex and deep sounds-can actually do multiple looping on one key with the right programming.
October 19, 2009 @ 5:45 pm
I once heard that Stevie Wonder referred to the DX5 as the "dream machine". I bet if he used this thing he'd wonder if he were in heaven. Best synth ever. FM AND additive waveform synthesis interacting with each other. Raw power.

Sure, I had to replace the LCD, but that's nothing. 2 1/2 hours of work for the synthesizer of the gods. Some of the tact switches feel a little dirty, but they probably just need to be broken in to overcome years of disuse. Which should happen quickly, as much as I mess with the thing now. I haven't tried the disk drive yet, but if I have to do anything to fix that as well, no sweat. No matter what, it's still not as unreliable as an Ensoniq and sounds a million times better.
October 16, 2009 @ 6:01 pm
A beast of a synth, not for the newbie.
Think - Super DX 7 plus an M1 & an SPX900 in a box.

Programming is not Fischer Price.
Sonically more capable than 90% of other keyboards.
Great key action, one of the best non-weighted I have played
Sold it when I got married.
A sad day.......................

I would not hesitate to buy another.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.33 (1137 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 32 voices: 16 AFM voices, 16 AWM2 sampler voices
  • Oscillators - 6 operator AFM synth with 45 algorithms, 3 feedback loops and 16 waveforms; 16-bit AWM2 sample ROM waveforms
  • Filter - Multi-stage Time Variant Filters with resonance
  • Arpeg/Seq - 16 track sequencer, 16,000 note capacity, 99 patterns, 1 song, 61 built-in drum sounds
  • Effects - 4 independent digital effects processors
  • Keyboard - 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch
  • Memory - 128 preset & 64 user patches, 16 preset & 16 user multi-patches
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - SY77: 1989, TG77: 1990

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